Premiere for a fleet of brand new asphalt road construction machines in Germany’s Westerwald region

It’s a sunny day, the aroma of fresh asphalt spices the air and a whole fleet of brand new construction machines stands waiting – a wonderful sight that sets every true road builder’s heart racing. This was the scene when the team from Abel & Weimar, roads and civil engineering contractors from Limburg, began their day. In the course of repairs to a major road through the Westerwald by ‘hot on hot’ paving, the team’s new Vögele pavers and Hamm pneumatic-tyre and tandem rollers worked in unison to deliver optimal paving results from start to finish.

Convincing technologies from the Wirtgen Group

As the fleet of eleven new Vögele pavers and Hamm rollers rolled off the convoy of low-loaders, it was anything but a typical working day for a medium-sized contractor like Abel & Weimar Strassen- und Tiefbau GmbH, but a milestone event in the yet young history of the company. The two Managing Directors, Lothar Abel and Andreas Weimar, had decided to renew their entire fleet of machines for asphalt paving.

From the beginning, Catharina Mertens was closely involved at every stage of their investment. ‘They began thinking about replacing their fleet with new machines quite some time ago’, reported Catharina Mertens from Consulting & Sales ROAD at the Wirtgen Group subsidiary in Windhagen. ‘Abel & Weimar were one of my first customers when I started my new job in Sales. Because of this, I’m particularly pleased that the initial contact turned into such a successful business relationship’, adds Catharina Mertens.

High surface quality: Paving with a combination of Vögele tamper bar screeds (here an AB 500 TV) and Hamm rollers (here an HP 280i) has an excellent track record around the world.

‘The job is not for people who can’t stand the heat, the cold, the dust or the dirt.’

Catharina Mertens, Consulting & Sales ROAD at the Wirtgen Group, Wirtgen GmbH, Windhagen, Germany

3 questions for …

Catharina Mertens, Consulting & Sales ROAD at the Wirtgen Group subsidiary in Windhagen

Can you remember what it was like the first time you had dealings with customers as a member of the sales staff at the Wirtgen Group?

Well, for one thing, I wasn’t unprepared. I was already familiar with sales matters from my back office work, and I had worked very hard on preparing myself for my new job. I visited sites with our service technicians and learned a lot from colleagues on the production lines at our brands’ headquarters. After all this, I met up with customers on their construction sites and, for example, after learning on the machine, even got to operate Vögele screeds. I also accompanied my predecessor on sales trips, and learned the “tricks of the trade” – and the kinds of challenges we sometimes face with customers. So the best prerequisites for the job were already in place when I took over.

How have the relationships with your customers developed since then?

On the whole, very positively. Thanks to my background, customers very soon recognise that I know what I‘m talking about. And this has led to more and more contractors and their teams placing their trust in me and the Wirtgen Group. I’m also very pleased to see that they want to talk to me about the services we offer, and not just about new machines. I’m always happy when I know that I’ve helped my customers and made a contribution to their success.

What do you need to be successful in a job like yours?

One thing above all – you should never be afraid of the complexities of the industry you are working in. It’s then no problem at all to earn the respect of the people you encounter along the way – and directly experience it. And another thing, if you can’t stand the constant heat, cold, dust or dirt, the job is definitely not for you. At the Wirtgen Group, our maxim is ‘Close to our customers’, and we live by this principle, every day. In whatever conditions the weather gods can throw at us on construction sites, not only in air-conditioned offices.

’At the Wirtgen Group, our maxim is ‘Close to our customers’, and we live by this principle, every day. Not just in our offices, but out on construction sites, too.’

Catharina Mertens, Consulting & Sales ROAD at the Wirtgen Group, Wirtgen GmbH, Windhagen, Germany

A business relationship based on mutual trust: Sales Manager Catharina Mertens visits Abel & Weimar to see the premiere of the new machines on the Westerwald construction site.

Benefits like Easy Drive, the standardised operating concept, speak for Hamm rollers

Since its founding in 2002, Abel & Weimar has been more than satisfied with the positive experience gathered with Wirtgen technologies. Nevertheless, in view of the size of their planned investment, many details still had to be worked out. Sales Manager Catharina Mertens therefore arranged a meeting with the contractors at the Hamm brand headquarters in Tirschenreuth. ‘On our visit to Hamm, we were able to hold in-depth discussions about the latest compaction technologies and get the information we needed at first-hand’, reported Andreas Fischer, Construction Manager at Abel & Weimar. The experts at Hamm demonstrated the advantages of Hamm oscillation technology and Easy Drive, the standardised operating concept for all Hamm machines.

Easy Drive is a standard feature of all HD+ und DV+ tandem rollers and the HP series of pneumatic-tyre rollers. ‘It makes a big difference to us when an operator familiar with the handling of one machine can work on several other machines without additional training’, explains Andreas Weimar, co-owner of the construction company. The team from Abel & Weimar also had the chance to see Vögele technology in action at a machine demonstration with a simulation of a working scenario organised by Catharina Mertens.

Hamm has set its focus on equipping all machines with Easy Drive as a standardised operating concept.

Jumping in at the deep end – the repair and resurfacing of a major road

At the end of the day, the contractors from Limburg Limburger were so impressed by the Vögele pavers and Hamm rollers that they ordered all eleven machines from the Wirtgen Group in Windhagen. Their brand new fleet is made up of two Universal Class pavers and one Mini Class paver from Vögele, two HD and five HD+ tandem rollers and one HP series pneumatic-tyre roller from Hamm. The first contract for the new fleet took the Abel & Weimar team led by Construction Manager Andreas Fischer to a road repair project on the B 256, a major road through the Westerwald. They had been commissioned to repair 822 metres of damaged pavement on a section of the road between Güllesheim and Flammersfeld in the Rhineland-Palatinate.

Ergonomics and ease of handling are a top priority throughout the Wirtgen Group. Vögele has equipped all of its Premium Line pavers with the ErgoPlus standardised operating concept.

Hot on hot paving with Vögele SUPER 1800-3i pavers

The two Vögele SUPER 1800-3i pavers first laid a new binder course and then followed it up with a new surface layer. With each machine paving a width of 6 m, their AB 500 TV screeds laid the asphalt ‘hot on hot’ to produce an even and seamless pavement. A total of six of the new Hamm rollers then assured flawless compaction results. ‘The combination of vibration and oscillation from the tandem rollers and the two pneumatic-tyre rollers enabled us to deliver high-quality asphalt surfacing’, reported Construction Manager Andreas Fischer, who had nothing but praise for the quality of Hamm compaction technology. Successfully implemented in projects around the globe, this combination guarantees rapid compaction progress and even surfaces with ideal grip characteristics.

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